2022 Perennial of the Year is a Perfect Plant for Lakes Region Landscapes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Perennial Plant Association’s 2022 Perennial Plant of the Year is Schizachyrium scoparium and cultivars. Little bluestem is a spiky, tough and dependable clumping grass with a superior, tight, upright habit. It blends well with perennials such as asters, sedums, coneflowers, and other grasses. Native to a broad swath of North America, it was one of the dominant grasses of the vast tallgrass prairies. 

‘Standing Ovation‘ is a cultivar that works extremely well in Lakes Region Gardens. It puts on three seasons of color starting with a bluish leaf, with a deeper purple tone towards the base in summer. Small, tan seed heads also appear in late summer. Then in fall, desert sunset shades of red, orange and purple take over. When the weather turns wintery, the grass dries to a pretty wheat gold. These blades are thicker than those of most other Schizachyrium, which means they stay upright—a great vertical accent for a garden border. Alternatively, you could plant it as a screen for unsightly things in the landscape like a gas meter. Because it changes colors, it can fit into a few different color palettes. You can also dry it for long-lasting interior décor. This grass does well in a wide range of soils. It’s especially handy for soils that dry out quickly, because it is drought tolerant. Be sure to make room in your Lakes Region garden plan for some Schizachyrium scoparium. You’ll be glad you did!

Ornamental Grass
Size: 2-3′  tall x 15-18ʺ wide
Blooms: Late summer to fall
Sun: Full sun
Water: Dry to xeric
Hardiness: USDA zones 3-8

Deer resistant

Pairs well with:
• Cone flower –  all varieties
• Shasta daisy – all varieties
• Rudbeckia

Ornamental Grasses are at Their Best in Lakes Region Winter Gardens

The garden in winter doesn’t normally get a lot of attention. However, with a little time and energy during the growing season you can add some ornamental grasses that will give life to your wintertime garden as well. We know ornamental grasses accent a garden at any time of year, but they just might be at their best in the dead of the winter. They provide texture and movement in the winter landscape – elements often lacking when the rest of the garden has gone to sleep. When the rest of your landscape is taking a visual rest, the colors, textures and movement of the grasses has a beauty all its own. Many varieties do double duty by attracting birds to your winter garden providing shelter and food. Maintenance is simple – cut back in the spring before new growth appears. Honestly, we think they’re worth growing for their winter interest alone!

Why we love ornamental grasses

  • Natural appearance
  • Deer resistant—white-tailed deer do not eat most ornamental grasses
  • Few insect or disease problems
  • Low nutrient requirements
  • Little maintenance, except spring cutback
  • More than one season of interest
  • Fast growth—most are mature size by three years
  • Varied texture, from fine fescues to coarse giantMiscanthus
  • An array of foliage colors from many shades of green to blue, yellow, bronze, and red, as well as several variegated forms
  • Movement with the wind provides visual and audio interest, susurration—a whispering or rustling sound—that is pleasing and unique
  • Beautiful effect when planted en masse

 

Two of our favorites that are super hardy zone 4 grasses are panicum Northwind and calamagrostis Karl Foerster. Try them in your garden this year!

 

 

 

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